Asylum Applications: In the UK from main applicants increased by 41% to 36,465 in the year ending June 2016, the highest number of applications since the year ending June 2004 (39,746). Numbers of asylum applications in the first two quarters of 2016 (8,228 in January to March and 7,810 in April to June) have been considerably lower than in the last two quarters of 2015 (10,231 in July to September and 10,196 in October to December), although still higher than the same quarters a year earlier.
In the year ending June 2016, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Iran (4,910), followed by Iraq (3,199), Pakistan (2,992), Eritrea (2,790), Afghanistan (2,690) and Syria (2,563). Most applications for asylum are made by people already in the country (90% of applications in the year ending June 2016) rather than immediately on arrival in the UK at a port.
Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased by 34% to 44,323 in the year ending June 2016. There was around one dependant for every five main applicants. In 2015, around three-quarters (73%) of applicants were male and four-fifths (81%) were aged under 35.
In the year ending June 2016, the number of initial decisions on asylum applications decreased by 7% to 26,350. Of these initial decisions, 38% (9,957) were grants of asylum or an alternative form of protection, compared to 41% in the previous year. Separate analysis shows that for the years 2012 to 2014, 36% of decisions were granted initially, but this proportion rose to 49% after appeal.
Estimted figures show the UK had the eighth highest number (44,000) of asylum applications within the EU in the year ending June 2016, including dependants. Germany (665,000), Sweden (149,000) and Hungary (131,000) were the three EU countries that received the highest number of asylum applications, together accounting for 63% of asylum applications in the EU in that period.
Resettlement: In addition to those asylum seekers who apply in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered to those who have been referred to the Home Office by UNHCR (the UN agency for refugees). In the year ending June 2016, a total of 3,439 people were resettled in the UK through this process. Of these, 2,682 were also granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). In the year ending June 2016, 49% (1,308) of those resettled under the Syrian VPRS were under 18 years old, and 49% (1,307) were female. On 7 September 2015, an expansion to the existing Syrian VPRS was announced. Through this expansion, it is proposed that 20,000 Syrians in need of protection will be resettled in the UK by 2020. A total of 2,898 people have been granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian VPRS since the scheme began. Between the start of October 2015 and the end of June 2016, 2,646 people have been resettled under the Syrian VPRS across 118 different local authorities. These data are available in Asylum table as 20 q (volume 4 of the Asylum data tables). On 21 April 2016, the government announced they will work with UNHCR to resettle children from the Middle East and North Africa region. The new scheme aims to support vulnerable and refugee children at risk and their families, with a view of resettling up to 3,000 individuals over the course of this parliament.
Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children: An unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC) is a person under 18, or who, in the absence of documentary evidence establishing age, appears to be under that age, is applying for asylum in his or her own right and has no relative or guardian in the United Kingdom.
There were 3,472 asylum applications from UASC in the year ending June 2016, a 54% rise compared to the year ending June 2015 (2,252). Overall, UASC applications represented 10% of all main applications for asylum. Despite the recent increase in UASC applications, they remain below the peak of 4,060 in the year ending September 2008. The nationalities that lodged the highest numbers of UASC applications in the UK were Afghan (806), Eritrean (583) then Iranian (445). These three countries contributed to more than half (53%) of total UASC applications.
There were 2,084 initial decisions relating to a UASC in the year ending June 2016, 6% higher than the previous year (1,963). Of these, 74% were granted asylum or another form of protection, compared with 67% in the year ending June 2015. UASC applicants that are refused will include those from countries where it is safe to return children to their families, as well as some applicants who were determined to be over 18 following an age assessment.
Outcome of Asylum Applications: The most recent data report on the initial decisions made on asylum applications by the Home Office. However, some decisions will be challenged at the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice, which considers appeals against the asylum decisions made by the Home Office.
The Home Office produces an analysis of applications for whole year cohorts of asylum seekers, in order to calculate the overall success rates following appeal. For most years, this will provide the most complete description of the outcome for asylum seekers; however, for the most recent years some cases will still be outstanding, as not all cases will have had sufficient time to be completed. The analysis therefore only provides a ‘snapshot’ of the recorded outcomes of the group (or cohort) of asylum applicants in any one year, at a particular time. This dataset is updated, in full, annually and is currently available up to 2015.
The outcomes for the 32,733 main applicants who applied for asylum in 2015, as with previous cohorts, will be updated in subsequent annual reports. However, as at May 2016, it is estimated that 10,319 (32%) main applicants were ultimately granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave, either at initial decision or after appeal; 9,168 (28%) were refused or withdrawn; and two-fifths (40%; 13,246) were awaiting confirmation of an initial decision or appeal outcome.
Support Provided to Asylum Seekers: At the end of June 2016, a total of 37,030 asylum seekers and their dependants were being supported in the UK under Section 95, compared with 30,457 at the end of June 2015. The majority (34,367) were supported in dispersed accommodation, with 94% located outside of London. An additional 2,663 were receiving subsistence-only support, with just over half (52%) of these located in London. Although the total figure has risen since 2012, it remains considerably below that for the end of 2003 (the start of the published data series), when there were 80,123 asylum seekers in receipt of Section 95 support.
Applications Pending: At the end of June 2016, 26,392 applications (received since April 2006) from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 22% more than at the end of June 2015 (21,604). The number pending an initial decision for more than six months increased by 84% (from 3,606 to 6,637) while those pending further review decreased by 35% to 6,031.
Asylum Appeals: The HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) received 12,471 asylum appeals from main applicants in the year ending June 2016, a 5% fall compared with the previous year (13,154). Appeal determinations have increased from 7,769 in the year ending June 2015 to 9,512 in the year ending June 2016. These figures remain below the peaks in the number of appeals and the number of determinations in the year ending June 2010, which were 16,560 and 16,032 respectively. In the year ending June 2016, the proportion of determined appeals that were dismissed was 53%, while 43% of appeals were allowed and 4% were withdrawn.
Age Disputes: Some asylum applicants claim to be children but there may be doubts as to whether this is in fact the case. In the year ending June 2016, 1,060 asylum applicants had their age disputed and 933 were recorded as having an age assessment. Of those who completed age assessments in the year ending June 2016, 68% were assessed to be over 18, despite claiming to be a child when the age dispute was raised.
Dependants: Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased by 34% from 33,111 in the year ending June 2015 to 44,323 in the year ending June 2016. This is an average of one dependant for every five main applicants. In the same period, 6,685 initial decisions were made relating to dependants. Of these, 1,702 (25%) were grants of asylum or an alternative form of protection, and 4,983 (75%) were refusals.
People Entering Detention: The number of people entering detention in year ending June 2016 decreased by 1% to 31,596 from 32,053 in the previous year. Over the same period there was a 1% increase in those people leaving detention (from 31,649 to 32,055). There was a continuing decline in the proportion of detainees being returned or voluntarily departing the UK on leaving detention in the year ending June 2015 of 49% to 44% in year ending June 2016. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of detainees granted temporary admission or release (TA/TR), from 40% to 45%. As at the end of June 2016, 2,878 people were in detention, 16% lower than the number recorded at the end of June 2015 (3,418). The fall may be partially attributed to the closure of Dover IRC in October 2015, and changes to the detained fast track asylum process, as well as changes in the numbers of people requiring detention.
Length of Detention: During year ending June 2016, 32,055 people left detention. Of these, 64% had been in detention for less than 29 days, 18% for between 29 days and two months and 12% for between two and four months. Of the 2,135 (7%) remaining, 231 had been in detention for between one and two years, and 42 for two years or longer.
In the same period, over a third (36%) of people leaving detention had been detained for seven days or less (11,568). Of these, 49% (5,651) were returned; 49% (5,611) were granted TA/TR; and the remaining 3% were bailed (60), granted leave to enter or remain (49), or released for other reasons (197). Of the 273 detained for 12 months or more, 36% were returned, 34% were bailed and 26% were granted TA/TR.
As at 30 June 2016, the longest length of time a person had been currently detained for was 1,156 days.
EU Nationals Leaving Detention: In year ending June 2016, 4,139 nationals of the European Union left detention, 33% more than in year ending June 2015 (3,105). The largest number was Romanian nationals (1,313; 4% of the total of all nationalities leaving detention). The second and third largest groups were Polish nationals (1,025; 3% of the total) and Lithuanian nationals (567; 2% of the total). The proportion of EU nationals being returned or voluntarily departing the UK on leaving detention in year ending June 2016 was 89%, compared with 38% for non-EU nationals.
Reasons for People Leaving Detention: There was a continuing decline in the proportion of detainees being returned or voluntarily departing the UK on leaving detention, from the most recent peak in the year ending March 2011 of 64% to 44% in year ending June 2016. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of detainees granted TA/TR, from 28% to 45%, and an increase in the proportion of detainees granted bail, from 6% to 10%, over the same period.
Children in Detention: The number of children entering detention in year ending June 2016 was 117, 31% lower than the previous year (169). This was a 90% fall compared with the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119).
Of the 119 children leaving detention in year ending June 2016, 36 were returned from the UK and 78 were granted TA/TR. Of those leaving detention, 104 had been detained for seven days or less, four for between 8 and 14 days, five for between 15 and 28 days, two for between 29 days and 2 months, and four for over 2 months. There were no children in detention as at 30 June 2016.
Immigration Detainees in Prisons: As at 27 June 2016, there were 427 detainees held in prison establishments in England and Wales solely under immigration powers as set out in the Immigration Act 1971 or UK Borders Act 2007.
Enforced Removals from the UK decreased by 9% to 12,846 in year ending June 2016 compared with the previous 12-month period (14,093). This includes 11,311 enforced removals and 1,535 other returns from detention. In the year ending June 2016, there were 26,985 voluntary returns (excluding returns from detention) compared to 25,856 in the previous 12-month period.
The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed increased by 9% in year ending June 2016 to 18,249 from 16,725 in year ending June 2015. The number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departing has been increasing since 2012.
In the year ending June 2016, provisional data show there were 5,891 returns of foreign national offenders (FNOs), using enforcement powers or via deportation. This is the highest number since the series began in 2009 and reflects increasing use of other forms of foreign national offender returns, including those where an offence was committed outside the UK.
Of the 12,846 total enforced returns in the year ending June 2016, 78% were non-asylum cases (10,080), up from the previous 12-month period (9,658). Of these enforced returns, 11,440 (89%) were returned home, 1,095 (9%) were returned to an EU member state, and 311 (2%) to other and destination unknown. In the same period, there were 2,766 enforced returns of people who had previously sought asylum, down 38% from the previous year (4,435).
In the year ending June 2016, there were 26,985 voluntary returns (excluding returns from detention) of which 1,542 were voluntary returns of people who had previously sought asylum. These figures include individuals who have been identified as having overstayed their leave and who subsequently left the UK without informing the Home Office. This identification process enables the Home Office to focus better its resources on those who remain in the UK. Due to the retrospective nature of data-matching exercises, the data on voluntary returns are particularly subject to upward revision as additional checks are made on travellers after departure. Of the 26,985 voluntary returns (excluding returns from detention), 1,626 (6%) were returned to another EU member state.
The number of people refused entry at port and subsequently departed has been lower in recent years compared to when the current data series began (in 2004). There was a sharp decrease from 31,859 in the year ending June 2009 to 13,789 in the year ending December 2012. There is no single cause identified for this fall, but it will in part reflect differing mix in arrivals. For example, one-fifth (21%) of the decrease was due to a fall in the number of nationals of Afghanistan being refused entry and subsequently removed (-3,720). The overall falls are likely to be due to a combination of factors, including tighter screening of passengers prior to travel increased use of voluntary return, and changes in visa processes and regimes; for example, South African nationals have been required to have a visa for any length or type of visit to the UK since July 2009. Of the 18,249 people refused entry at port and subsequently departed, 5,789 (32%) were returned home, 10,954 (60%) were returned to an EU member state, and 1,506 (8%) to other and destination unknown.
Returns by Nationality: The highest number of enforced returns in the year ending June 2016 was for Albanian nationals (1,510; 12% of the total), of which 1,416 (94%) were returned home. The second highest number were Romanian nationals (1,391; 11% of the total), of which 1,289 (93%) were also returned home; Romanians have also shown the largest increase (+444; +47%) compared to the previous 12 months. Some of these returns may relate to specific enforcement activity related to specific groups of individuals from these countries.
The largest number of passengers refused entry at port and subsequently departed were United States nationals (1,747; 10% of the total), of which 1,072 (61%) were returned home. United States citizens (and Brazilian nationals, the fourth largest number) who are not coming to the UK for work or for six months or more do not need to apply for, and be issued with, a visa prior to arrival; therefore, the first time that they can be refused entry will be on arrival in the UK. The second largest number was nationals of Iraq (1,436; 8% of the total) who were also the nationality recording the largest increase compared with the previous year (+1,345; +1,478%). Of the 1,436 Iraqi nationals, 1,407 (98%) were returned to an EU member state.
There were 26% more enforced returns (4,341) of nationals of other European Union member states in the year ending June 2016 compared with the previous 12 months (3,435) and 25% more EU nationals refused entry at port and who subsequently departed (2,155 compared to 1,721).
Returns by ‘Harm’ Assessment: A harm matrix was introduced in 2007 to assess whether the Home Office was removing the most harmful people; ‘higher harm’ assessments include people who have committed serious criminal and immigration offences
In the year ending June 2016, 11,311 enforced removals and 28,520 voluntary returns (including returns from detention) were subject to an assessment for a harm rating, of which 21% (2,413) were assessed as ‘highest harm’, a higher figure than the 17% (2,107) the preceding year. A total of 1% (198) of total voluntary returns was assessed as ‘highest harm’.
Foreign National Offenders: The Home Office also removes FNOs using enforcement powers or via deportation. In the year ending June 2016, provisional data show that 5,891 FNOs were returned. This is the highest number since the series began in 2009 and reflects increasing use of other forms of FNO returns, including those where an offence was committed outside the UK.
Background information: The figures in this section relate to numbers of people, including dependants, leaving the UK either voluntarily when they no longer had a right to stay in the UK or where the Home Office has sought to return them to their own country, an EU Member State, or a third country where they are permanently admissible. While individuals refused entry at port and subsequently departing have not necessarily entered the country, their return requires action by the UK Border Force and Home Office, such as being placed on a flight, and is therefore included above.